Nasdaq's CEO says the cloud is the 'future of the industry' and the tech could be used to conduct actual trading within the next decade

  • Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman said the cloud is the "future of the industry," while speaking at Business Insider's Global Trends Festival.
  • Exchange operators have been some of the most aggressive adopters of the public cloud on Wall Street.
  • Friedman believes actual trading could eventually occur in the public cloud, which would represent a big step for financial firms' acceptance.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A top executive at a key player in Wall Street's ecosystem is fully sold on the power of cloud computing.

Adena Friedman, Nasdaq's CEO, said the technology will play a pivotal role in the markets going forward, and has big plans for how it will continue to be implemented at exchanges. 

"We have to think about things like the cloud as being the future of the industry," Friedman said at Business Insider's Global Trends Festival on Monday.

Exchanges, with the massive amounts of data they deal in, make for an ideal customer for the public cloud. In recent years, public-cloud providers like Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services have had success pitching their services to exchange operators like CME Group, Nasdaq, and Deutsche Borse Group

Specifically, Nasdaq and Friedman have long been advocates for the power of the public cloud. In April, Nasdaq announced it would begin offering market data in real time via the public cloud. 

"More and more, I would say, workflows around the trade, are already going into cloud applications. And almost all of our services and applications outside the trade are on the cloud today," Friedman said. 

Moving trading to the cloud would be a big step

However, it's one thing to offer data, analysis, or other tools via the cloud. It's another to conduct actual trading there.

Trading still represents a core part of exchange operators' business. Moving those capabilities out of physical servers and onto the public cloud would represent a big step, not just for the exchanges themselves, but for Wall Street's overall acceptance of the tech. 

Still, Friedman believes the industry will eventually get there, and perhaps sooner than others might think.

"Do I think in 10 years, that many of the markets around the world, including Nasdaq, could and should be able to leverage cloud to operate their actual trading activities? The answer is yes, I do," she said. 

Friedman's belief in the future of the cloud holds weight due to the reach of Nasdaq's tech. Besides being a critical piece of US market structure, the exchange operator's technology is used by other markets. 

Therefore, Nasdaq's push for further cloud adoption could lead to wider usage at trading venues around the globe. 

Still, it will likely take time. Fractions of a second prove critical when it comes to matching trades, in addition to dealing with volatile market conditions. 

However, Friedman seems confident a solution will eventually be developed. 

"Really, it's a matter of that hyper low-latency, hyper resilient, high scalability technology. Can it be available in a hybrid cloud or in the full public cloud?" Friedman said. "We think over the next several years we will be partnering with the cloud providers to make that happen."

More BI Global Trends Festival coverage: 

  • Mastercard's incoming CEO sees an opportunity and obligation to help SMBs and consumers through economic recovery. Here are some of his plans to help them recover.
  • Cycles of disruption: AlixPartners' CEO lays out what has separated winners from losers in 2020


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